Along with my regular posts at SeanMcDowell.org, I am now featuring some of my former students in the Biola Apologetics Program. This post is by my friend Timothy Fox, who helped me with both the Awana Advocates curriculum and the updated and revised Evidence that Demands a Verdict. He also blogs at Free Thinking Ministries and you can follow him on Twitter at @TimothyDFox. Enjoy!
God’s Origin Story
By Timothy Fox
In my last article, I compared superhero origin stories to the beginning of the universe. Every superhero needs an origin story, and so does the universe. We need a reason why it exists. I argued the best explanation is a God who caused the universe to come into existence. But doesn’t that just push the origins problem back one step? What is God’s origin story? Why is he here? That’s the focus of this article.
Whenever cosmic origins are discussed and God is offered as the explanation for the beginning of the universe, the skeptic is near certain to object “Yeah, well, who created God?” as the ultimate refutation. But this just shows the skeptic doesn’t understand who God is.
God and Shazam
When Billy Batson, an ordinary boy, says the word SHAZAM! he is transformed into the superhero Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel - it’s complicated). Shazam has the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the willpower of Atlas, the lightning blasts of Zeus, the invulnerability of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. (An alliteration of all of their names spells Shazam.) That’s a pretty awesome list of superpowers, isn’t it? But even with all that, Shazam still isn’t God.
In fact, superheroes aren’t even in the same league as God. God isn’t just really strong; he is infinitely powerful. God isn’t just smart; he has infinite knowledge. God isn’t just good; he’s morally perfect. Take everything that makes superheroes great and crank it up to infinity. That’s God. God isn’t just great; he’s a Maximally Great Being. God can’t be beaten; he can’t be killed; he can’t not exist. He lacks nothing, needs nothing. God is the standard of goodness.
God Is Maximally Great
Now look at how silly the question “Who created God?” is. If something created God, that thing would be greater than God. But nothing could be greater than a Maximally Great Being; therefore, nothing could have created God.
But couldn’t there be two Maximally Great Beings? No, as then neither one would be maximally great; it would be a tie. Which one would win an arm wrestling contest? Which would beat the other in a race? Which one would win at chess? Each might be a great being, but neither would be maximally great. Thus, there can only be one Maximally Great Being.
Last time we saw there were only two options for the existence of the universe: either it has always been here or it came into existence at some finite point in the past. If it came into existence, it needed a cause. God never came into existence; therefore, he doesn’t need a cause. He is what Aristotle called the First Cause, or Unmoved Mover. God set the universe into motion.
God's Origin Story
I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you, but God has no origin story. He simply is. God is eternal. As the Bible describes: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). God is a Maximally Great Being, having every great-making property to the maximum.
Superheroes are strong. They’re brave. They’re fun to read about and watch. But God is no mere superhero. God is the greatest being in the universe, and as such he is the only one worthy of our worship.
“Who among the gods
is like you, Lord?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?” - Exodus 15:10